The Credibility of a product is absolutely critical, whether it is coming from a brand-new startup, or an established corporation. There is a great deal that goes into the Credibility of a product, from the people that hype it, to its visual presentation. However, there are a few basic elements that go directly to the foundational aspects of product Credibility upon which the rest of the product’s truthfulness is built.
Quick-UX provides for the rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX). In answering the question of Usefulness, "Should I use it?" the sub-category of Credibility is one in the frequent discussion of cautious engagement, especially in the ever increasing, in both frequency and size, waves of introductions of online products.
Establishing and maintaining Credibility is the removal, or minimization of concerns arising from these types of questions. Many elements (design, accuracy, usability, timeliness, advertising, etc.) contribute to the positive, or negative, perception of overall product Credibility, but for Quick-UX’s evaluation we assess only the most elemental. For a refresher of the Quick-UX Credibility Rubric visit: Quick-UX & Credibility: Do you believe?
Today, we will look at an example of a product with Strong Credibility, with a value above 0.8.
Etsy, the handmade maketplace, performed the best out of all of the products in this series, being the only product to achieve a value within the range of Strong Credibility, 0.825.
This product is a strong example of how to correctly lay the foundation of Credibility. For this article, I am going to walk through each specific line of the Quick-UX Credibility rubric and show how this product addressed each one.
No Obvious Typos
If no obvious typos are found throughout the product, the Credibility variable (whose value starts at zero) is incremented by 0.15, as it was in this case for this product. The obviousness of typos I have addressed throughout this series. Basically, if you cannot find either…
- multiple typos located on a single page or scattered throughout the product, or
- typo(s) occurring on keywords, like market terms, or, more significantly, the punctuation or formatting of the product’s name…
…within 5-10 minutes of looking then it is typically good to assess that there are No Obvious, Credibility-damaging Typos.
Contact Information Provided
Visitors to a product should always have at least a generic means by which to reach out to the product; whether it be for support, sharing ideas, reporting problems, or other reasons that the product’s users need to communicate with the product’s maintainers / creators that may not have been thought of. A generic means of contact can be such things like a…
- simple contact form, or
- a generic email address (e.g. support @ product.com ).
And, when at least one of these items occurs, as it did here, the Credibility variable is incremented by 0.175.
Etsy provides a plethora of channels by which users can reach out to the people behind the product. Beyond the exhaustive list of departmental email address, this product allows people to communicate ‘On Etsy’ through forums and the blog…
…as well as ‘Elsewhere on the Web’…
A physical address, whether it be for a brand new startup or an established organization, bolsters the consumer confidence through a demonstration of resolute tenacity to survive, to thrive, to keep this product going, as well as commitment to the product (and, in turn, its consumers).
In the online world, where products come and go, where some pop-up one day, and are never looked at by their creators again, a physical address is a valued component of Credibility. While showing a physical address, like many of the other line items in this rubric, does not provide a guarantee, it does lay the groundwork for and extend the air of trust between the consumer and the product the consumer is inspecting.
This product, in addition to the other contact information already provided, presents a clearly visible, easy to find address (where they often hold workshops), resulting in the incrementing of the Credibility variable by another 0.25.
Team & Background
Real products have real people behind them. Showing the individuals, the team, that makes this product what it is, demonstrates they are proud of what they created and are confident to stand behind it. Putting your name and reputation on the line for your latest endeavor always engenders increased trust and faith in your commitment to making the product the best it can be, and work for your consumers.
Showing the people behind the product by providing a name alongside a bio (names with bios are less likely to be imaginary and are more verifiable, should one wish to take the initiative) results in the incrementing the Credibility variable by 0.125.
Etsy is unique in their approach to providing information about the real team members. They are unique in both the …
…breadth and depth in the presentation of individuals on each team (you really feel like you are seeing and learning about everyone in every department that makes this product what it is)…
…and the "flavor" and variety of background biographical information.
A quick scan of this ‘About’ page resulted in finding…
17 handwritten questionnaires,
21 more detailed bios, and
many more bios findable via the blog.
The handmade, handwritten questionnaires, and the diversity of biography, present a welcomed and uniquely human touch (also very much inline with their target market of all things handmade) further reinforcing and strengthening this product’s Credibility.
The Credibility variable is incremented another 0.125 if, beyond the listed individuals and bio’s, direct contact information is also presented along the biographical information, as it is for the members of Etsy, including the CEO.
While the method of direct contact does not exist for all members, can be somewhat difficult to find for others, and a user must be logged in to avail themselves of this level of contact, the information and functionality is present alongside the bio’s of the listed employees.
Almost a perfect example of Credibility. Almost. Typically, a product is more likely to show a phone number than a physical address; and if a physical address is displayed, you are almost guaranteed to see a phone number. Almost, because while providing a physical address, no phone number for Etsy was able to be found. If there is one, it is buried so deep, and obscured so much as to not come up in a Quick-UX evaluation whose fundamental goals are to…
"provide a rapid, simple and quantifiable assessment of a product’s User Experience (UX)."
Maybe a phone number is just not logistically possible for Etsy. They do already have a very strong foundation of Credibility upon which to further their reputation and their buyer / seller communities. Should Etsy desire to achieve a 1.0, incrementing their Credibility value another 0.175, it would serve to cement an already present, firmly solid, air of Credibility.
Beyond the issues that can be addressed surrounding the telephone number, there exists room for improvement of the means and methods of direct contact.
The vigorous and very lively community would benefit from…
- making the direct contact information more accessible, through easier access on the ‘About’ page, and
- enabling individuals without accounts, without the need for logging into the product, to take advantage of the direct messaging capabilities.
Short of these improvements, this product, Etsy, is already on a very solid foundation of Strong Credibility, with a final value of 0.825.
Quick & Useful
Over the next few weeks I will be exploring and ins-and-outs of Credibility, walking through real-world examples of the Quick-UX evaluation of Credibility…
Subscribe now (click here) to make sure you don’t miss any part of this series exploring the Usefulness and Credibility components of Quick-UX, the quick and easy method of generating quantifiable and comparable metrics representing the understanding of the overall User Experience of a product, as well as other insightful posts from The Product Guy.
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